With its square, massive, billhooked silhouette, the Orlando passes for a big American 4×4. However, it is only a Korean compact minivan! Even if it is undoubtedly the largest in the segment, bordering on the upper category of large MPVs. It is as long, in fact, as a Renault Espace! An original look and not illegitimate, since it is produced and marketed by Chevrolet, a purely “Yankee” brand. Its flattering bodywork is even one of its biggest assets. The Orlando looks bigger than it actually is.
A little gloomy atmosphere
Inside, the American-Asian GM group is a little less attractive. The design, not at all unpleasant, is not at all in question, even if the rounded edges of the dashboard slightly reduce the space at the front. But plastics are cheap – you’ve got to save some money somewhere. The dark atmosphere appears gloomy. Nothing to do with the warmth of a Renault Scénic or a Citroën Picasso. The driving position will not be appreciated by everyone either. We are sitting a little too deep, with the knees raised and very long seats. The adults may not mind. The others do. Strange for a model “made in Korea”, not intended to be sold in the United States!
Some small details annoy, like the switch to turn on the lights, to the delicate grip, or the speedometer, too small and pushed in. An increasingly exasperating drawback, when you have to constantly monitor your speed, to the nearest kilometer … On the other hand, the assemblies are solid. Roominess and accessibility, favored by the geometric shapes of the bodywork, are very favorable. Obviously, the two additional places on a third row of seats are not very welcoming. And, in this case, the trunk is reduced. Moreover, even folded up, the last bench clutters the said trunk. But it is inevitable. The machine is ultimately functional and practical.
The 130 horsepower diesel engine in our test model proved to be a great pleasure. It is very flexible, resumes smoothly, while ensuring good acceleration. This engine, which we once knew rough, has made great progress. Very good. Unfortunately, this large displacement mechanism (2 liters) is not very economical. It is true that the aerodynamics are not very neat either, the price of square shapes. 9 liters per 100 km on a mixed city-road-highway route, it’s not very sober. The manual gearbox is softer than the engine, with fairly firm locks. And, above all, the clutch, with a reduced stroke, requires some practice. It lacks progressiveness. Sometimes difficult to dose, it can generate slight jerks when changing gears.
The Orlando is less comfortable than a Scénic or a Picasso. The suspensions jump in effect on degraded pavement. But there is nothing prohibitive here. The big problem is that these suspensions work very loudly! Nothing is lost from the percussions of the running gear on the bumps and bumps. Which gives subjectively the feeling of being shaken with each inequality … We therefore feel a real feeling of discomfort. Slamming suspensions and rolling resonances constitute the most serious defect of the machine. Chevrolet didn’t break the bank by soundproofing. It is maddening in the city, as soon as the road deteriorates or on the highway connections. The handling, for its part, does not lead to particular pleasure. The Orlando bounces a little too much on bumpy pavement. It is not very precise. The management is a bit fuzzy. But, for a family minivan, it is doing honorably. And without danger.
Less refined and successful than its French competitors, more rustic, the Orlando must be judged, like all the brand’s products, according to its price, attractive. Our model in LT + basic finish was priced at 23,500 euros, with sufficient equipment – but beware of the 750 euros penalty! The options are competitive. Count 650 euros for an electric sunroof, 775 for a GPS! It must be taken into account that the Orlando is more spacious than most rivals, which further improves its relative competitiveness. A roughly equivalent Renault Grand Scénic costs at least 4,000 euros more. From this perspective, our criticisms are obviously to be put into perspective.
Price of the model tested : Chevrolet Orlando 2.0 VCDi 130 LT +: 23,500 euros (+750 euros for malus)
Engine power : 130 horsepower (diesel)
Dimensions : 4.65 meters (long) x 1.88 (wide) x 1.63 (high)
Qualities : massive and flattering shapes, roominess and accessibility on board, attractive price, pleasant engine, decent general services.
Defaults : suspensions too noisy, clutch not very progressive, firm gearbox, driving position not suitable for all.
Competitors : Toyota Verso 126 D-4D Active 7 places: 25,100 euros; Opel Zafira 1.7 CDTi Magnetic: 26,850 euros; Renault Grand Scénic dCi 130 Expression 7 seats: 27,500 euros
Grade: 13 out of 20